How to Choose a Hog Hunting Cartridge

by
posted on May 28, 2017
loaded_for_boar_f.jpg

Editor's note: Author Craig Boddington has killed feral hogs across the globe. You can read about his adventures here.

I’m bound to get letters from hunters who maintain they only take head shots and insist .22 centerfires are plenty of gun. This is true if you hunt in situations where you can pick your shots, such as from stands. And if you hunt pigs with hounds, then a big handgun is perfectly adequate.

For the full run of pig hunting a big rifle is better. But let’s keep “big” in perspective. I learned spot-and-stalk hog hunting from Mike Ballew, former executive director of the NRA Whittington Center, when he was the hunting manager of Dye Creek Ranch in northern California. Ballew supervised the yearly hunting of several hundred pigs and had his share of close calls. Yes, wounded pigs—of all types—will charge readily. Sows come low, biting; boars come higher, slashing with their tusks. Ballew carried a “big rifle” for backup: a .270 or 7x57. Either is plenty for any pig that walks, and the .30-06 is also very hard to beat. If you have an inclination toward long shots then more is better: fast 7mms and .30-calibers. On the other hand, if you like to get up close and personal, traditional “brush cartridges” like the .35 Rem., .348 Win. and .45-70 Gov’t. are lots of fun.

Keep in mind that there’s a big difference between a 120-pound eatin’-size sow and a 300-pound boar … not the same animal at all. Only boars have the thick cartilage shield over neck and shoulders, proof against tusks. This shield is not bulletproof but can make a quick-expanding bullet set up too quickly. Choose bullets of at least medium weight for caliber that are designed to penetrate!

Latest

H2H 348 Winchester Vs 358 Winchester Lead
H2H 348 Winchester Vs 358 Winchester Lead

Head to Head: .348 Winchester vs. .358 Winchester

Between the .348 Winchester and .358 Winchester, which cartridge is the better all-around choice for the hunter? Contributor Philip Massaro examines the pros and cons of each.

New for 2023: HatsanUSA .62 Caliber PileDriver

HatsanUSA has announced its largest airgun to date—the .62 caliber PileDriver, designed for high-powered hunting applications.

Mauser Introduces M18 Bolt-Action Rifle in Camo Patterns

Blaser Group has announced the importation of the Mauser M18 bolt-action rifle in two camo patterns—U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and Fred Bear Old School Camo.

A Recipe for Reloading the .45-70 Government

Contributor Barb Melloni takes her readers through the process of reloading the .45-70, and her eventually precise result.

NRA-Backed Constitutional Carry Introduced in Florida

Once signed into law, more than half of the nation will recognize this fundamental right. 

#SundayGunday: CZ-USA 712 G3

Get a closer look at the CZ-USA Field Sports 712 G3, the latest addition to our #SundayGunday series.

Interests



Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.